I’m not a huge fan of halloween but am aware that without halloween a lot less pumpkins would be grown. Pumpkins bring colour and eccentricity into the back quarter of the year.
Turks Head pumpkins are my favourites. Warty, imperfect and lumpy. They need no embellishment from carving to be interesting,unlike their rotund relations the Orange Pumpkin.
Pumpkin carving and me have history. There is an expectation that because I am ‘artistic’ the whittling of a face or something more into a pumpkin will come as second nature. Whittling Pumpkins doesn’t interest me and on the occasions I have tried it I have found it to be hard/dangerous. The effort put in is far greater than the end result. Of course my attitude was a source of huge disappointment to my children. Not for them dressing up in ghastly outfits and begging/ frightening neighbours/strangers in order to get sweets. They were not totally deprived at the end of October, we often had parties for some of their friends there was just less sugar, plastic and tat, and no intimidation of the local population. I’ve always wished Britain had adopted Mexican Day of the Dead as our end of Autumnal event. More authentic, joyous and less threatening.
Though related, the two annual events differ greatly in traditions and tone. Whereas Halloween is a dark night of terror and mischief, Day of the Dead festivities unfold over two days in an explosion of color and life-affirming joy. Sure, the theme is death, but the point is to demonstrate love and respect for deceased family members. In towns and cities throughout Mexico, revelers don funky makeup and costumes, hold parades and parties, sing and dance, and make offerings to lost loved ones.
Far better, in my opinion, to remember fondly and celebrate our deceased loved ones communally and with positivity. Maybe its time to do a DNA test and see if any part of me is Mexican.
For now I just have dancing carrots!